2011 Statewide Survey

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting Audubon California to coordinate the 2011 Tricolored Blackbird Statewide Survey. The survey will be conducted over three days - April 15th through the 17th, 2011.

We are currently seeking volunteer participants to survey both historical colony locations as well as to survey in appropriate regions for new, previously undocumented colony locations and to estimate the number of birds at occupied sites. No prior experience is necessary and any level of commitment, big or small, is welcome to help to make this year's survey as complete as possible.

Training Sessions

Three training sessions will be offered to help survey participants identify tricolor colonies and to estimate the numbers of breeding birds.

  • The first training session was held at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area between Sacramento and Davis on March 12th.
  • The second training session was held in the Community Room at the Eastern Municipal Water District, 2270 Trumble Road, Perris, Riverside County from 9:30 - 12:30 on March 26th.
  • The third and final training session was held at Merced National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with San Luis National Wildlife Refuge on April 9th.
  • How to Participate

  • 1. Contact Keiller Kyle (kkyle@audubon.org) at Audubon California to express your interest in volunteering. Make sure to include contact information and any other people that may survey with you
  • 2. Peruse the maps to find the area(s) that you would like to survey. All maps have colony sites that are important to survey or areas where Tricolors have been seen or may have yet undetected colonies
  • 3. After selecting a survey area or areas you are interested in searching, go to the sign page to list your name with the chosen area. Try to fill in areas that do not have a survey group to avoid too many gaps. It's okay to have multiple groups surveying the same area, but try to limit the overlap.
  • 4. Look at or download the survey protocol and datasheets, and don't forget to fill out the liability form and send it to: Keiller Kyle 765 University Ave. Sacramento, CA 95825
  • 5. Also take a look at the training session powerpoint if you have questions about the Tricolored Blackbird or the survey
  • Recording Your Observations

    After surveying for tricolors, you will have several location records to submit to the Portal. Please submit observations for all locations, whether occupied or not - observations of unoccupied locations are important! Here's how to record your observations:

  • 1. Login to the Portal. Only people who have a login name and password approved can enter data into the Portal. If you do not yet have a login name, create one and within 24 hours it will be approved for you to start entering data.
  • 2. After logging in, start entering your observations at historical colony sites. The link for adding observations can be found in the menu on the left. Enter as much information as you can about the site including substrate, estimated colony size, and bird behavior. Remember zero birds at colony sites should also be entered if the colony site was visited.
  • 3. Add new locations of colonies. The link for adding new locations is in the menu on the left. See the survey protocol for how to pick a name for the new colony site and include directions on how to get there. Once the location has been added, begin inputting your observation for the new location in the same way as at historical colony sites.
  • 4. If you have any trouble inputting information into the Portal, please contact Keiller Kyle (kkyle@audubon.org)